Cognitive Diversity, Collective Intelligence, and Learning in Teams

Team learning, or the rate at which teams improve as a function of experience, is the foundation of organizational learning. We study how cognitive style diversity in teams—or diversity in team members encode, organize and process information—indirectly influences team learning. We identify team collective intelligence, or the capability of teams to perform at consistently high levels across a wide array of domains, as a cognitive mechanism that influences this relationship. Using tenets of the law of requisite variety, we predict and find that cognitive style diversity has a curvilinear—inverted U-shaped—relationship with collective intelligence. Collective intelligence is further positively related to the rate at which teams improve in their implicit coordination, a process essential for team effectiveness. We find that the team’s collective intelligence serves as a mechanism guiding the indirect relationship between cognitive style diversity and team learning; specifically at the highest levels of cognitive style diversity, collective intelligence is reduced, which then lowers the rate at which the team leans how to coordinate implicitly. Overall, this research advances our understanding of the compositional factors and emergent states that explain why some teams demonstrate high levels of team learning in dynamic situations while others do not.

Ishani Aggarwal, Anita Woolley, Christopher Chabris, Thomas Malone
Learning not to underestimate: a socio-cognitive approach to understanding the dynamics of women’s underestimation in groups

We study the impact of gender composition on the team’s ability to perform better than its average individual members or best member in the group, also known as group synergy. We argue that because women have a tendency to underestimate themselves, having a greater proportion of women in teams is likely to lead the groups to hold inaccurate self-evaluation judgments, both global as well as task-specific in the direction of underestimation. This, in turn, will hurt the group´s ability to develop group synergy, which is one of the very reasons why groups are formed for taskwork. Despite this, we also argue that women will benefit from their group experience and show improvement in the accuracy of their task-specific self-evaluation judgments over time, indicating learning. We test these hypotheses in a context where groups are engaged in a neutral task, where men and women perform equally well. We find evidence supporting the negative impact of proportion of women on group synergy where self-evaluation judgments are the explanatory mechanisms. The data also show that women gain from the group context more than men in improving the accuracy of their self-evaluation judgments. We discuss the societal and organizational importance of these findings, as well as some managerial implications given that teams are an increasingly common way of structuring work in organizations.

Ishani Aggarwal, Nicoleta Meslec
Social Clas and Prosocial Behavior

This project assesses how prosociality is understood and operationalized on the extreme ends of the socioeconomic distribution. Using samples from rather advantaged  and disadvantaged regions of the city of Rio de Janeiro, we examine (1) the pattern of association between social class and prosocial behavior; (2) potential moderators of this relationship; and (3) accounts not yet explored in the literature that explain the observed results.

Yan Vieites, Rafael Goldszmidt, Eduardo B. Andrade
Textual Warnings and Unhealthy Eating Behavior

Partner: Carlos Chagas Biophisics Instituto – UFRJ

In a partnership with the Carlos Chagas Biophysics Institute at the Rio de Janeiro Federal University, this project assesses the impact of textual warning labels developed by ANVISA on people’s emotional reactions and intention to consume unhealthy food items.  

Filipe Braga, Quéren-Hapuque Delaquila, Pedro Paulo G. Lima, Jessica R. Andrade, José M. Oliveira, Eduardo B. Andrade, Sonia Gleiser, Fabio S. Gomes, Renata L. Araújo, Leticia Oliveira, Mirtes G. P. Fortes, Isabel A. David, Eliane Volchan
The Impact of the "Dry Law" Operation on Drunk-Driving in Rio de Janeiro

Partner: Rio de Janeiro State Government Department

Rio Janeiro has become a benchmark when it comes to the monitoring and enforcement of the Brazilian Law about drunk driving (the so-called "dry law"). In a partnership with the Secretaria de Governo do Estado do Rio de Janeiro, this projects aims at understanding the impact of the Dry Law Operation (Operação Lei-Seca-OLS) on Drunk-Driving in the city of Rio de Janeiro. Aggregate data analyses, field and lab experiments, surveys and qualitative analyses are all to be used to better assess the impact of multiple variables on drunk-driving, such as the increase in punishment levels, the changes in the perceived likelihood of enforcement, the educational campaigns, the celebrity effects, and so on.

Eduardo B. Andrade, Cesar Zucco Jr.
The emergence of shared team leadership: Antecedents and consequences

In a naturalistic field setting with MBA student teams, we examine the factors that lead to the emergence of shared leadership structures, and we explore their consequences for team performance. We find that team personality composition of openness to experience influences shared leadership structure emergence, i.e. teams with higher elevation score on openness to experience are more likely to form shared leadership structures.  Further, these leadership structures have important consequences for team performance in particular types of tasks.  Specifically, we find that teams that form shared leadership structures perform significantly better in open-ended creative tasks and significantly worse in close-ended decision-making tasks.  Together, this study suggests a novel moderated mediation model exploring how team personality composition is capable of influencing team performance through shared leadership, and finally, how this relationship is influenced by the type of task.

Ishani Aggarwal, Vanessa Bohns, Ula Lagowska
The effect of task order on transactive memory system development and team creativity

In this study, we investigate both the role of task context (i.e., task type and task sequence) in influencing the strength of specialization and coordination in teams, and how it impacts the relative value of specialization and coordination for team outcomes (i.e., team creative performance). In an experimental setting, we predicted and found that working on an initial creative task facilitated the emergence of specialization and coordination in the team, as compared to working on an initial analytic task. Furthermore, the sequence in which the different task types were presented influenced subsequent coordination levels. Additionally, specialization and coordination had an interactive effect on team creative performance. We found that specialization was most beneficial for team creative performance when coordination was low rather than high, and that coordination was most beneficial for team creative performance when specialization was low rather than high, hence they play a compensatory role in influencing team creativity. Overall, this advances our existing understanding of team creativity by studying the influence of an important but understudied factor (i.e., the task context) and associated team cognitive states.

Ishani Aggarwal, Christina Shalley, Ben Herndon, Jinlong Huo
Cognitive style mobility: A new lens for understanding team diversity

Cognitive diversity in teams is associated with benefits and costs, and increasing the benefits linked with having a greater wealth of human resources without increasing the associated coordination costs is a challenge. In this paper, we provide a lens for looking at team composition in terms of this cost-benefit tradeoff, and propose one way to optimize it. We study how cognitive resources are distributed in teams, emphasizing both breadth and depth. In two studies, we demonstrate that team cognitive style mobility, or the proportion of members in a team who encompass depth in a breadth of domains, is positively associated with team performance, explaining variance above and beyond other indices of diversity. We find that as team size grows, the benefit of having cognitive style mobility in the team increases, and identify team learning as one of the mechanisms that mediates the effect of team cognitive style mobility and team size on performance.

Ishani Aggarwal, Marco Molinaro, Anita Woolley
Understanding Crowdfunding

Partner: Catarse

Crowdfunding is a new funding strategy for start-ups, non-profit organizations, artistic initiatives, and new enterprises. In a partnership with Catarse, the largest Brazilian crowdfunding platform, this research investigates the factors that influence people’s willingness to fund projects in crowdfunding platforms. Multiple questions are being addressed such as the impact of information about others’ behavior on funding decision, the psychological mechanisms behind the decision to fund a project, and the effectiveness of the all or nothing approach.

Lucia Barros, Eduardo B. Andrade, Cesar Zucco Jr., Marcelo Brogliato
The impact of Leadership styles, leaders’ network centrality, and leader-member exchange quality on individual, group and organizational performance

Partner: Rio de Janeiro State Health Department

Considering a multilevel multimethod approach, this project develops three independent research with the purpose to understand how leadership styles, leaders’ centrality and leader-member exchange quality influences individual, group and organizational performance within the health sector. In a partnership with Rio de Janeiro State Health Department and State UPAs, this project investigates: 1) the influence of leadership styles on nurses’ and doctors’ individual and group attitudes and behaviors, and organizational (UPAs) performance; 2) how Leader-follower exchange quality, focusing on the relationship differentiation, influences individual and group performance; and 3) how leadership network and centrality styles (internal vs. external) vary as a function of structural and contextual factors, and its impact on group performance.

Josmary Alves, Juliana Mansur, Liliane Furtado, Filipe Sobral